Freezable dishes that are remain tasty after re-heating
After a long day of working, I'm usually too tired or too lazy to cook. So I was wondering if anyone has good recipes that I can make on the weekends, then freeze in small batches. It should be something that I can easily re-heat and still taste good after the freezing. Is this possible with vegetable dishes? How about seafood dishes? Thanks
I recommend a book on make ahead meals. I have read a few and gotten great suggestions.
The vegetables should be undercooked, because they will continue to cook as they cool and after you reheat. As to seafood, I have frozen cod chowder and the fish gets rubbery. I would stay away from seafood unless someone has a better sugestion on how to do it.
Some things that I enjoy making are: Vegetable soup, lasagna, stuffed peppers, rice and beans & chili.
This is not a recipe per se, but my old roommate used to make a huge batch of rice, let it cool, and then wrap it into individual servings with plastic wrap to freeze. That way whenever she wanted rice to go with anything it would take just a minute in the microwave - and no washing the burnt rice off the bottom of the pan!
A note: in my experience freezing stews - the meat always comes off fine, carrots are reasonably ok, but things like potatoes and parsnips really deteriorate and take on the most unpleasant texture. I think bean and lentil stews, with carrots and celery for example, would survive the best if you are not that into meat.
I wish I could add something more positive here, but freezing most things- doubles or triples cooking times. To me, freezing looses any advantage over quick to make fresh tasting meals.
This is what most personal chefs do, although I now concentrate on fresh food for my clients. There are many things that freeze well, and what you want to concentrate on are things with sauces. The sauce is what helps 'pad' the protein.
Rice, vegetables, pasta all freeze well. It's very simple, and thickeners also play an important role. Some thickeners don't do well being frozen and reheated, like cornstarch. Flour, arrowroot and rice flour are all excellent to use.
Italian especially does well freezing, as do soups, stews and casseroles. What doesn't freeze is mayonnaise based things.
Make sure everything is well thawed out before heating again, and do it in the fridge for two days. Sometimes dense stuff takes three days to thaw. If it is cooked, you don't have to worry for four days with it being thawed. Seafood is the exception, unless it's in a stew.
Things with a fairly high fat content freeze very well, as do broths. The most important thing about freezing most things, especially cooked dishes, is to keep air away from the surfaces. If I can, I'll put stuff into a Ziplock bag and squeeze all the air out before closing it. If it's in a rigid container I'll lay Saran wrap over the surface and press it down. In the case of chicken broth, I'll degrease it and reserve the fat, then pour a thick layer of that over the top and refrigerate it until it's cold and the fat hardened, then freeze it. The broth will usually expand and crack the fat, but by then it's frozen and won't dry out.
What I want to get is one of those vacuum-sealer food saver doodads - Target has a simple one for about $40. With those, you can not only safely freeze about anything, but you can reheat it from frozen by dropping the bag into boiling water. Didn't get one for Christmas, but there's always my birthday...